We were blessed with a warmer than usual autumn, but winter is fast approaching. Whether you’re staying in your lakeside home through the winter or heading somewhere warmer, it’s time to prepare your Sproat Lake home or cabin for the colder months. We’re going to take you through the important steps in preparing your home for this winter season with tips on how to get your Sproat Lake home or cabin ready for winter.
If you’re staying in your Sproat Lake home or cabin
Ensure you have proper insulation throughout.
Proper insulation will not only keep you warm, but also prevent serious damage from happening to your home. Proper insulation includes a vapour barrier to prevent condensation, and insulating your pipes to prevent them from freezing and bursting.
Another important part of insulation is ensuring you have the proper windows and doors installed. All windows and doors need to be properly sealed to avoid drafts coming in and warm air escaping out.
Install a heat source.
It’s important to connect with a professional when installing a heat source in your cabin. Depending on what your cabin has been built with and your budget, will determine what kind of heat source you need installed. Keep in mind that certain heat sources, like wood stoves, may impact your insurance, so check with your broker regarding your options as well.
Ensure your utilities are equipped for winter living.
Winter living uses a lot more resources than the summer, so if your cabin was built for summer living, this will be an important upgrade. The increased electrical and plumbing use (including septic) needs to be taken into consideration. Connect with your electrician and plumber to determine if your system needs an upgrade.
If you’re leaving your Sproat Lake home or cabin
Check your septic tank.
If you’re on septic, be sure to follow all manufacturer service recommendations and timelines prior to packing up for the summer. If you’re due for an inspection it’s important to get that done before you leave for the winter, or you might come back to a messy situation.
Drain your pipes.
Draining your pipes and turning the water off before leaving for the winter, will avoid any freezing and bursting pipes once the temperatures drop.
Inspect your roof and clean the gutters.
To avoid any leaking throughout the winter, ensure you change any broken or missing shingles, as well as cleaning out those gutters. Sproat Lake is known for its beautiful trees and forests, which brings fallen leaves and needles that clog gutters quickly. Avoid a messy situation in the spring by tackling your roof and gutter before winter sets in.
Keep your sump pump running.
If you have a sump pump, ensure it continues running properly throughout the winter to avoid any flooding once the snow melts.
Unplug any major appliances and remove fire hazards.
Avoid fires by unplugging big appliances and removing fire hazards before locking up for the winter. While it might not make sense for you to turn off the entire electrical panel for the winter, if your sump pump or exterior lights run off it, unplugging your larger appliances will help prevent electrical fires.
Pack up any food items.
The last thing you want to come back to in the spring is any kind of pest infestation, so pack up any food from your fridge and pantry, including canned and dry goods.
Do a perimeter inspection.
On the topic of pests, take the time to inspect the exterior of your lakeside cabin, looking for and filling any holes or openings that may invite insects and animals into your home.
Turn the heating down or off.
If your lakeside home runs on a furnace, consider turning it down to about 10C to avoid any frost build up, or you can turn it off to save energy (only if you’ve properly prepared your pipes to prevent freezing). If you do decide to turn off the furnace, shut off the gas as well. Unplug any space heaters and put out the wood burning stove before locking up.
Lastly, regardless if you’re staying or leaving, ensure you’ve packed up and safely stored all of your summer toys (boats, paddleboards, etc) to avoid any damage.
Following these steps regardless of if you’re sticking around for the winter or heading somewhere warmer will help maintain your lakeside home for years to come. We hope you have a wonderfully cozy and restorative winter. Stay warm!
Written by Nicole Brazzale, at The Valley Vibe. Port Alberni’s fast growing community and online magazine. The passion here at the Valley Vibe is to showcase the beautiful of our valley for all who live here, and travel through. Working together with many talented writers, we at the Valley Vibe love to explore, discover and uncover secret jewels about Port Alberni and Sproat Lake.